Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 14

Griffin turned two weeks old yesterday. He is just as perfect and beautiful as he was last week - probably more - so you can all sleep easy tonight ;)

It was a big day for the whole family as we officially moved into our house. It was pretty cool for his first night in the house to be our first night too. We made Mom, Ron, and Mema stick around through dinner so that we didn't have to adjust to their absence too abruptly. After living with Mom and Ron for two months, we've gotten pretty used to their company. However, we did manage to stay the whole night all by ourselves and we're settling in nicely.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 13

Today Griffin had his first tummy time yesterday. He seemed to enjoy it. He's been in a real hurry to hold his head up and has incredibly strong neck muscles. At 13 days old, he managed to lift his head and turn it to the other side while on his stomach. It was pretty insane.

Day 12

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day 9

Griffin went for his first walk yesterday. He was meh on it. He also had a little bout of gas that made him cranky. We think it was from the strawberries I had several nights on a row. Otherwise, he's still doing great and growing like crazy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 8

Griffin got his first infant massage last night. He seemed to really enjoy it and visibly relaxed. We also showed him his special White on Black book made just for infants because they can see white and black contrast. It was amazing to see him focus in on something so intently. The last picture is Nicholas asking if Griffin looks anything like him - leave your feedback in the comments. ;)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 7

Griffin turned one week old yesterday. I'm already a little sad at how fast the days are flying by.

It was a big day for the little guy. He took his first trip to the lake. He met several family members and I had my first new mother anxiety attack. I think it was a combination of heat and paranoia about him being exposed to so many people but I settled down semi-quickly.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day Six

He had his first bath yesterday and was SO not a fan.

The Birth

When I was in college, I took a religion course with a professor who was passionate about birth. I don't remember exactly how he fit it in but we read several articles by Michael Odent a home and water birth pioneer. I remember being completely overwhelmed by how powerful birth could be if it was given the respect it deserved. Since college, I continued to read more about the history of birth, watch and learn from my friend's births, and dream of the day I could have finally have this experience for myself.

I haven't really written about my journey to home birth on the blog for a lot of reasons. For so many months, when we were still working out the logistics of the move to Kentucky or even wondering if it would all happen, I wasn't sure how the home birth would work out. Family members had to be convinced and I had to find a midwife in a notoriously anti-midwife environment. However, in small ways and piece by piece, things fell in place.

The only time that my dream seemed in jeopardy was the week before I went into labor. I had had such a healthy pregnancy up until that point and had been vigilant about maintaining my weight. However, as the due date approached, I basically decided I was out of the woods and started eating whatever I wanted. My blood pressure skyrocketed and my midwife told me point blank that if I didn't get it down by the next day I would have to go to the hospital. She looked me straight in the eye and said they would put me on a magnesium drip and induce me with pitocin. At that moment, I felt my entire being say NO and I knew that was not going to be my reality. Thanks to my friend Elizabeth who was visiting and bought about a thousand pounds of fruits and veggies, I was able through diet, meditation, and yoga to drop my diastolic by almost 20 points in 24 hours. Now, I have a hunch my little guy was not so happy about the sudden absence of all cookies, cake, and donuts because as we all know he decided to arrive after about 2 days after my diet change.

I woke up at 5am on Saturday morning with what felt like bad menstrual cramps. I'd had those a couple of mornings over the past two weeks but I usually fell back asleep and they would stop. Well, these weren't stopping so I decided to get up and walk around the house for awhile. I paced for about an hour before I woke up Nicholas and told him we were taking a walk around the neighborhood. He definitely seemed confused at first but I told him not to get too excited because I kept thinking it could end at any moment. We walked around for about 45 minutes and he attempted to time the contractions but they were all over the place. We came back in and I tried to distract myself by watching some TV and putting stamps on announcement envelopes. After a while, I even tried to go back to sleep but the second I would fade off another contraction would come on.

Around 10 am, my midwife and her assistant showed up. I think at that point I realized that there is no way this was false labor and that it was really happening, especially when she checked me and said I was 3 centimeters dilated. At this point, I was beginning to have trouble handling the contractions by myself so they couldn't have arrived at a better time. I just felt like I didn't have a real strategy but my midwife came in and immediately began coaching me. She would tell me when to change positions and what positions to try. The best part was her and her assistant began massaging my back, which was not only a relief but seemed to really move things along. Her coaching totally allowed me to relax and stay out of my head. I knew I didn't have to worry about my breathing or my position and all I had to focus on was bringing him down into my pelvis.

At the time, I had no real perspective on time. I remember once looking out the window and wondering if it would start to get dark soon. However, in reality, things were moving along incredibly fast. My midwife checked me again about two hours later and I was already up to 7 centimeters. My mom and Nicholas had been sitting up the pool this entire time which was perfect, because the contractions were getting really intense.

I spent about two hours in the pool. The most comfortable position was doubled over the side with my midwife or her assistant applying pressure to my hips and rocking them back and forth. Again, I can't emphasize enough how instrumental all the support was in allowing me to handle the contractions and move forward. There were a couple times I would feel a contraction coming and no one had their hands on me. It was really scary to feel like I was alone and I would just yell HELP! Suddenly, all these hands were on me and people were whispering in my ears.

My midwife's assistant was the one I needed the most towards the end. She had large, strong hands and would push my hips back and forth. There came a moment when I realized that I didn't have to use any of my muscles to move my hips and that she would do it for me. It was such a relief to stop moving. Again, it was just another thing that let me stay out of my head and just relax into the contractions.

I also remember my midwife looking me in the eyes and telling me every contraction I had was one fewer I had to have. She told me at the perfect moment because I think I was starting to anticipate the pain and tense up. Her telling me that reminded me the pain has a purpose and that I had to move through it in order for it to end.

I started having the urge to push towards the end of my time in the pool. It was so exciting to know I was approaching the finish line. My water had still not broken and was bulging out of my body. My midwife decided to go ahead and break my water in the pool. I don't remember that making a huge difference in the intensity of the contractions. They were all pretty intense at that point. My midwife decided that moving to the bedroom might be what I needed to make him crown. So, I made what seemed like a very long walk back to our bedroom.

At first I was basically squatting off the end of the bed but my midwife informed me that she couldn't hold me and the baby. We tried a couple of pushes on my back but the baby's heart rate would drop. I started to get frustrated because I felt like every time everyone would yell how close he was to crowning but nothing was happening. At one point, I yelled at my midwife to get him out! She yelled right back that I was the only one that could do that. Finally, I was squatting into the contractions and then standing back up. It started to burn but I knew that I had to push into the burn to really make it happen. Then, sort of when I least expected it, I heard a blop and heard Nicholas's voice full of emotion yell, "He's out! Oh my god, he's out!"

Because I was standing, I sort of doubled over and they put Griffin on my back. So, everyone could see him but me. I was crying, "Let me see my baby!" After what felt like forever, I laid down on the bed. They handed him to me and my life changed forever.

Now, I cannot emphasize enough that this birth would have been impossible without my midwife and her support. I trusted her with every ounce of my body. If she told me to get a ladder and jump off the roof, I would have done it. I knew that she was there totally and completely for me. She had no other patients. She wasn't thinking about her own liability. All she wanted was for me to have the birth I'd dreamed about and to keep me and my son safe. I remember registering when she would take his heart rate and couldn't find it for second or two. However, it was literally just a passing observance. I never remember feeling any fear or doubt that either of us weren't safe in her care. Because I didn't have to think of any of this, I could focus all my energy on giving birth.

I wish I could fully express my feelings about that day. The birth of your first child changes everyone's life but for me his arrival is inextricably linked to how he arrived. The journey through the pain with no medical intervention or drugs was essential to the perfection of our first moments - even days - together. Griffin wasn't groggy or traumatized. My body and my hormones were allowed to flow naturally so I felt (and have continued to feel) so happy and mellow.

I fought hard for the home birth I wanted and I worked hard through the birth itself. All of it was worth it though for the perfection of moments like this.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day Five

So today was basically try out all our new baby toys on the baby. Can you tell?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Welcome to the world little one!

Everyone meet Griffin Stewart Holland. Born today at 2:55pm at home in Paducah, KY. He weighed 9 lbs 7 ounces and is 22 inches long.

He is ...of course.... the best baby EVER!!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Week 38

Ok so maybe putting off posting for a couple of days isn't the best of idea this late in the game. ;)

Don't worry - I'm still pregnant. We've just had some very eventful days. Last week, we finished up a ton of work on the house and it actually looks like someone lives there. My Aunt Lana came into town for Mother's Day and it was another whirlwind of decorating and late night trips to TJ Maxx.

Also, my dear friend Elizabeth came into town with her two boys and we've had a really fun time hanging out with them. They got here Friday, while we were in Nashville for Pamela's graduation from law school. We had a really lovely time with Nicholas's family and lovely Mother's Day with mine.

The baby is still hanging out. Clearly, he is pretty comfortable but we're not pressuring him. The most important thing is that he's ready so I'm trying to stay patient. :)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Week 37


Still pregnant. Thanks for asking. :)

Still dragging around this giant belly. I've even learned to give it a big shove with my hand when I roll over at night.

It's been a bit weird shift in attitude this last week. I went from focusing all on my attention on keeping the baby inside to - all of a sudden - waiting for and wanting him to come out. Of course, everyone else in the entire world also seems focused on this outcome so that probably enhances my perception that everyone is secretly slipping pitocin in my water.

I had told myself that I wouldn't get all stressed about when he showed up and that ultimately this little baby boy is the one who decides when he's ready. And just to clarify I'm not sick of being pregnant and want him out for my own comfort, it's more about the fact that we start studying for the bar at the end of May and I'd like a week or two with him before I have to start scheduling study time.

On other fronts, the house is coming along nicely. The bathroom is supposed to be finished this week. After that, we're going to have the house cleaned and the carpets steamed. Hopefully, we'll be moving boxes in by this weekend.

Two Downs:
1. At a shower this weekend, a lady from my church looked at me with the biggest smile on her face and exclaimed, "You must be miserable!!!" It was ridiculous.
2. I miss my full range of motion.

Two Ups:
1. It has been an incredible relief to stop worrying about premature birth and all its complications.
2. We put together the crib and crib bedding this weekend and it was so awesome to have the nursery start looking like a nursery!